June is Men’s Health Month, an annual celebration that brings awareness to preventable health problems and encourages early detection and treatment of disease among men of all ages. The celebration is also an inspiration to become more active, get in shape and make exercising a daily part of your schedule. Exercise is vital both to physical and mental health — and has been proven to help people avoid mental illnesses like depression and addiction to harmful substances such as drugs and alcohol.
Depending on where you live, though, general outdoor exercises are a little less appealing around this time of the year. During the summer, a 5-mile run or a trip to the dog park for some healthy activity can require a little more motivation than just having a general stay-healthy attitude. In southern states — like Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and others — temperatures can reach triple digits, making air conditioning and indoor relaxation attractive options. Heat also has a way of sapping energy from people and making them less-inclined to exercise, inside or outdoors.
Staying focused is key during the dreadfully hot days of summer. However, there are tricks to use so that exercise can remain a priority despite the wretched heat and humidity.
Participate in Groups
Whether it’s a pickup basketball game, an outdoor yoga class or something else, exercising with other people is a great motivator when all else fails. Doing an activity alone sometimes isn’t as engaging, and solo runs can be tougher to hold yourself accountable for compared to running with other people. That daily jog might feel a little bit longer when no one is around to push you and the sun rays seem to be more exhausting with each minute.
Make a point to do exercises and activities with other people. That’s one of the best ways to put the heat in the back of the mind and enjoy Men’s Health Month the right way.
Exercise Can Be Done Indoors, Too
Many people imagine exercise taking place outdoors. It’s a way to get out of the house, and spending time outdoors actually helps mental health and happiness.
However, thanks to the invention of air conditioning, exercising can be done comfortably — or at least not in a perpetual state of discomfort. Join a local gym. Do abdomen workouts at home. Take up yoga. Even bowling can be a benefit to one’s health. Any of these options can be done while protected from the heat.
Hit the Water
What is the perfect remedy for the summer’s extreme heat? Water, of course. Also, the health benefits that swimming provides can be second to none. Laps in a pool is an arm, leg, core and cardio workout all in one, something you can’t find in many activities.
When the heat is unbearable, hit the water. The cool-down pairs well with high temperatures, and the activity is another exercise that people can look forward to during the summer.
Exercise at Cooler Times of the Day
What’s another way to beat the heat and avoid the lack of motivation that comes with summer exercises? Learn to exercise at specific times and plan your daily schedule accordingly. The heat and temperatures are often the worst during the middle of the day — around 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. So an early morning outdoor workout — between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. — or an evening workout anywhere between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. is an ideal range of time.
A late-night jog poses a separate set of safety risks — some areas might not be well lit or populated — but there are pockets of time that are both safe for you and ideal for avoiding the scorching hot rays.
Fluids, Fluids, Fluids
No matter what time of the year it is, drinking fluids is vital to staying healthy when exercising. Water is the No. 1 drink to have, but flavored sports drinks also provide electrolytes that increase energy through nutrients. However, water is especially important during the summer. High temperatures equal more sweating, which means the body loses liquids at a much faster rate. This can drain energy quicker and even lead to experiencing dehydration or cramps.
During the summer, drink more water than at other times of the year. Increasing intake of sports drinks helps, too. This not only provides a much-needed refueling, but the sweeter-than-water taste can also be mentally invigorating during a workout and help make the finish line seem a little more attainable.